The next two chapters in Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith address the two sections of states of awareness (Chapter 12) and learning (Chapter 13). On states of awareness, the authors discuss Herbert Benson’s work on restricting sensory input through relaxation response. We were actually just discussing this in Applied/Clinical Integration, as we were reviewing an article on holy name repetition, which has its roots in Judaism and was practiced by the Desert Fathers and Mothers.
Chapter 13 covers the free will versus determinism debate. After distinguishing the two positions of determinism and indeterminism, they discuss the Christian concepts of God’s foreknowledge, sovereignty, and grace. They end this chapter with an image that conveys the paradox here:
Our situation is like that of somone stranded in a deep well with two ropes dangling down. If we grab either one alone we sink still deeper into the well. Only when we hold both ropes at once can we climb out, because at the top, beyond where we can see, they come together around a pulley. Grapping only the rope of determinism or the rope of human responsibilty plunges us to the bottom of a well. So instead we grab both ropes, without yet understanding how they come together. In doing so, we may also be comforted that in science as in religion, a confused acceptance of irreconcilable principles is sometimes more honest than a a tidy oversimplified theory…. [p. 77]
But do we really choose to grab both ropes…?